BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

Subject Code :- BIOL1320 / BIOX1320
Assessment Type :- Assignment
The writing assignment should be uploaded on iLearn via the Turnitin link. This can be done in the Assessments box.
This task assesses the following learning outcomes:
• Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
• Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to the significance of their findings
BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

BIOL1320 - BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

• You will lose 5 marks (out of 100) per day late, or part thereof, including weekends.
• Length penalties : – 5 marks for each 10% length over or under the target of 800 words for the body of the commentary the acceptable word range for the body is thus 800±80.

What you need to do
The assignment is to take one of the three articles below and write a short summary and commentary summarising the article and commenting on its scientific significance. Do the findings presented in the paper provide a significant advance? Is there anything special or surprising about what the authors report?

BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

The commenting component should refer to two other peer-reviewed publications to the target article at least one of which does not include as authors any of the authors of the target article. Imagine that you are writing for a general audience interested in science.

Envisage writing a short news article for Science or Nature one of the most prestigious scientific journals. It’s a good idea to peruse issues of these journals for their science news sections at the front or top end of the journal.

BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

The commentary consists in order of:
• Title page consisting of a title, with an optional subtitle, author name i.e. your name with optional affiliation and word count for the body of the paper.
• Text body of 800±80 words (not including title, references).
• References in the departmental Harvard style the document on iLearn: anything that you cite in your commentary including of course the article that you are summarising. References should only include articles that you have cited in your commentary (just as any citations in your text must have a matching reference).

In terms of mechanics put the title page first. Keep it a separate page from the body.
Remember to add the word count for the body of the text not the whole piece on the title page. Don’t put on the title page the authors of the target article their article’s title or anything else about the article that you are summarising. That information has to be in the body which comes next in the assignment. The references then follow in the departmental Harvard style with a header References before them.

The idea :-
The idea of this assignment is to write a readable interesting commentary for a general audience. Think of your peers as the audience, not your teachers. The main idea is to 1) convey a summary of the authors’ main findings and 2) to comment on its significance and impact in its field. Good comments are not off the top of your head but come backed by references from peer-reviewed sources.

BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

Both primary and secondary literature could become key papers to serve for comments. For 2 link two other related peer-reviewed articles to the article that you are summarising. This means more than just a sentence containing a reference or several references). It means describing something typically not everything because you would not have the space of that other article. Linking means clearly relating your article as comment to the target paper beyond providing a brief review of this other publication. A good comment adds some thing new to what the authors of the target paper are saying not simply re-iterating what these authors said with another reference.

We call these value added comments. Only two such linked articles are required thus quality rather than quantity of commenting is what it is all about. One of the other articles should not have, as authors, any of the authors of your target article. Some candidates are listed with each of the target choices but you are free to seek out others.

Thus two other references than the article that you are summarising play starring roles. But other citations may appear in supporting roles even if they are hardly described. It is as if the movie has one main character (your target article) and two key supporting roles such a movie may also have a bunch of minor characters who only appear briefly.

BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

BIOL1320 / BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

For topics to comment on you might check some of the references in your target paper for relevant back ground or look for others who have cited the target paper (Cited reference search).

Stylistically readability comprehensibility and interest are desirable. Technical wizardry use of a maximum amount of jargon, and lingo to impress your teacher are not desirable.

How would you present the most important ideas from the article in the most comprehensible and most interesting way? That is your task. Commentaries should not come across in style as formal philosophy. As a news article your task is to keep it newsy.

BIOL1320 – BIOX1320 Commentary Assignment

Keep the language to simple everyday terms but with out descending into slang and colloquialisms in appropriate for a science news story. The paper is short with hard word limits. Don’t ramble on: concise writing is at a premium. Make every word count.

Be sure to write the entire piece in your own words. Do not plagiarise other sources. All plagiarism will be punished. On this topic consult:

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